Feb 01

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Nurse practitioner-led clinic open

Clinic staff deal with medical emergency on first day

By Jennifer Vandermeer Ingersoll Times

Posted 1 hour ago
It was just their first day open to the public but staff at Ingersoll’s nurse practitioner-led clinic had already dealt with a medical emergency.

Oxford EMS was called to the new King Street East location to transport the patient to hospital.

Otherwise, the day was spent registering new patients. About 350 people have been registered so far, having not had a family physician of their own.

A tour of the two-storey facility included a look at the clinic’s own lab, two pediatric-specific exam rooms, eight regular patient exam rooms, a treatment room, administration space, a gym, addictions counseling space and the Dr. Kelly Shaughnessy community room, which is shared with Pharmasave.

Community partnerships with various organizations and businesses will help the clinic provide a broad spectrum of service to its patients and the community.

One special service for clinic clients is the Counterweight program. The Ingersoll nurse practitioner-led clinic (NPLC) is the first practice to offer this weight-loss program in North America.

Nurse practitioner and clinic administrator Shelly Redman said the clinic is not a walk-in for the general public, but is set up so that the clinic’s patients may get same-day appointments.

Redman explained the clinic is designed as an advanced access model, “which means we prioritize our day and don’t fill every spot.” About 30% of the day is pre-booked and the rest is available for patients who call.

Funded by the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care, the clinic will be staffed by four nurse practitioners who will be able to take on up to 3,200 patients who don’t have a primary healthcare provider.

The Ingersoll clinic is the first of its kind in Oxford County and was one of 14 approved in a third wave of funding. A total of 26 nurse practitioner-led clinics are expected to be open across Ontario by the end of 2012.

In filing its application, Ingersoll, which has an estimated 6,000 people living in the area who don’t have a primary healthcare provider, outlined the need for a clinic here. The application included information on demographics, doctor shortages and hospital emergency department visits.

“There was a multitude of different factors that went into that document,” said Redman.

Nurse practitioners have a minimum two years of full-time nursing experience and advanced degrees to provide primary care services, including many performed by a doctor, such as writing prescriptions.

“It’s the same care as anywhere else, it’s just a team that’s all on site providing comprehensive healthcare,” said Lisa Longworth, a member of the clinic’s administration team.

The clinic is expected to take some of the pressure off of the emergency department at Alexandra Hospital because up until now that was the only healthcare option available to people without a family doctor.

With extended hours of 8:30 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on Friday, registered patients will have ready access to care.

While only people who don’t have a primary healthcare provider will be accepted, nothing is needed to register as a patient with the clinic.

A volunteer board of directors made up of dedicated local residents governs the operation, she said.

For more information about the clinic or to register as a patient, go to the clinic web site at: www.ingersollnplc.ca